Tuesday, November 22, 2005

 

History? What history?

Discretion is the better part of valor. Caution is preferable to rash bravery.
- Falstaff in King Henry the Fourth, Part One, by William Shakespeare.

While Danny and Jean fight it out over who said what, we are relieved that another vet has poked a hole in their granfalloon of barstool bravery:
"Mean Jean," as she's known in Ohio, and her mentor were off base historically, too.

Marines do retreat, when it's the better part of wisdom. Facing more than 200,000 Chinese troops, 20,000 freezing members of the First Marine and 7th Army divisions avoided annihilation at the Chosin Reservoir in North Korea near the Yalu River in 1950 by fleeing to Hungnam for evacuation by sea to live and fight another day. (Marine Gen. O.P. Smith gave the long march a hyperbolic twist -- "Retreat Hell! We're attacking in a different direction!") My First Cavalry Division also retreated south below the 38th Parallel along with all other United Nations forces that frigid November.

U.S. troops also retreated from Vietnam, too: 57,000 killed and 153,000 wounded and overwhelming Communist forces underscored the futility of that war.

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